Book Review: Eleanor & Park

Young Adult/Romance

5 Stars

 

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Everybody should read this.

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. I teared up at the end, which I did not expect. It gave me all kinds of feels. Stunning writing. Why can’t all love stories read like this? Why can’t all authors/writers aspire to tell a story like this? The story never slowed. A real page turner. Exciting, interesting, unexpected. Sweet, yet gritty. How’s that possible? I don’t know. The mark of a good author, I expect. Romantic, yet believable. Everything I want in a read.

To the authors and publishers out there: More like this, please.

Can’t help but mention how this little story reflects my own relationship. Tall red head (me), half-Malaysian boyfriend. Both very awkward but perfect together. Oh!

Book Review: The Replacement

5 Stars

Dark Fantasy

 

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An unexpectedly excellent read and one which I finished quickly. The writing was outstanding. The best I’ve read in a long time—probably ever. Sometimes it’s even masterful. I’d rate it a four stars just based on that. The romance was high quality. The story deep and absorbing.

The whole thing was quite fantastic. I love the faery world, and the author did well in keeping it the dark, beautiful mystery it’s supposed to be.

At first I found it troubling that so many people had issue with it. But after thinking about it a little while, I think I know why. Readers expect certain things when they pick up a book. And going by this cover, most would think it a horror. Throw a YA main character in to the mix and what one expects is a fast-paced, gory, insta-love, action-packed thrill ride.

And if you didn’t realise it already, I’m not a big fan of those kind of stories.

But this is not what this book is about. It’s certainly not a horror and though the character is only sixteen, I wouldn’t classify it as YA either. It’s for adult audiences—and more specifically for those who want more than mindless fluff.

It’s steady-paced, character-driven and filled with hidden meaning. I’d classify it as an adult dark fantasy, but it’s so much more than that.

Despite the darkness and gloom, it’s actually a story about love.

A surprise, and I enjoy surprises. An excellent author and an excellent book. I only wish more people could see what I see. A real shame that it hasn’t received the accolade it deserves.

Haunting and beautiful.

Book Review: Into the Black Nowhere

Crime/Thriller

5 Stars

 

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Don’t know if I can put in words how good this book is. Forgive the pun, but this is a killer book. Holy crap. And I’m not usually a fan of this genre, simply because it’s not usually done well. This book certainly is.

How do I not know Meg Gardiner’s name? This is number 2 of the series, and I feel a desperate need to read the 1st and then the rest of them NOW. That rarely happens to me. If the books continue like this, I’ll buy the series.

Great writing. Great characters. And you can tell the author has done her research. Good guys I love. Bad guys I not only hate but abhor. Believable police work. Kick-ass cliffhanger ending. I really have nothing negative to say about it. This is how a crime/thriller should be told.

If you love crime and mystery and heinous bad guys, and not knowing who might live or die, you need to read this book.

Chilling, surprising, unpredictable. I actually gasped a few times.

Huge fan. Big thumbs up

Book Review: The Rook

Urban Fantasy

3.5 Stars

 

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A pretty good book. My friend loved it and advised that I should read it. I went in warily because though my friend and I are so similar in so many ways, our taste in books couldn’t be more different. Often I don’t finish the books she raves over. This one I did with some reasonable enjoyment.

The plot was okay. Pulled me along. Kept me interested enough to keep reading. That being said, however, overall it just wasn’t to my taste. I like depth in my books. Something that’ll make me angry, devastated, horrified. Something that’ll make me think and feel. This is a plot-driven novel with shallow characters. Nothing wrong with that. Each to their own. But it means that I’m simply not emotionally invested enough to continue onto the next book. I’m also not a fan of the Marvel/Superhero/X-men/Heroes trope that’s on play here (it’s been done to death).

But a matter of taste is not the only issue. There are gaping plot holes I couldn’t ignore, character inconsistencies, enormous info-dumps, some truly cringe-worthy dialogue (between Myfanwy and Shantay—they sounded like teenaged girls), a general lack of believability and the humour began to get annoying, then tedious, then eye-rolling. By the end it became awkward and forced as the story became too dark to make it work. The ending was quite the slog too as the villain explained in eye-glazing detail his nefarious plot.

Nevertheless, a decent enough read if you like something light and fluffy that’s not meant to be taken seriously. For those who like something deeper and darker, however, you will need to read this with a different mindset.

Book Review: Pursued (Brides of the Kindred #6)

Romance/Erotic

5 Stars

 

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I really liked this one! After being disappointed with the last book, this one surprised me! I think this one’s my favourite so far. Unlike the rest I’ve read, this book had some serious darkness to it which made it more difficult to put down.

These books are like chocolate cake. No. More like a plate of delicious sausages … hahaha. So bad for you but oh so good. As always, loved the sex scenes. Very detailed and explicit and the way the Kindred talk so openly about it always makes me giggle.

These stories aren’t meant to be perfect. The dialogue can be off. The female characters are far from the best. And the story can be pretty bad at times. But I don’t care! Surprisingly, none of that bothers me. Still, I can’t read all these books at once. I need to read them months apart to really enjoy them. They are, after all, mostly the same story.

2020: Bring on ‘Exiled’.

Book Review: Lolita

Classic/Literature

5 Stars

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This one was a bit of an eye-opener. To be expected considering the content. To my surprise, I finished this very quickly. Hugely absorbing. Equal parts fascinating and appalling. Written as a fictitious memoir and with such old-fashioned flowery prose, and yet it was so unexpectedly modern. Loved the deep perspective. Got a real feel for both Lolita and this terrible, loving, pitiful, disgusting creature Humbert Humbert.

Give it a chance. If you can put your squeamishness aside, read it.

Book Review: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson #1)

Paranormal Romance

Four Stars

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I’ve been meaning to re-read this book for years in order to continue with the series because I had enjoyed it so much. I still enjoyed it! But it’s amazing what a few years reading some excellent romances can do to one’s tastes.

I thought the romance with Gabriel was perfect the first time round. This time, I found it lacking. There was no build-up. There was no real romance. Minimal tension. And the ‘protectiveness, possessiveness’ tropes get a bit old. The sex scene was still good. The plot was also lacking, particularly the ending. I didn’t understand the point of the fight.

Still, I enjoyed it. A lot of reviewers say this is the kind of story that’s been done a million times before. They’re probably right, but I generally steer away from stories about vampires and werewolves, so this feels somewhat fresh and new to me.

A quick fun read, just not as fun as the first time. I will be continuing with the series.

Kushiel’s Chosen (Phèdre’s Trilogy, #2)

3.5 Stars

Fantasy

 

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I don’t know where to begin with this one. I loved the first book so much that I didn’t want it to end. This second book—I couldn’t wait for it to end. What happened? It took over 300 pages before anything interesting happened. Ordinarily I would have given up, except I trusted the book would get better. It did—for a time. The middle was good. Then the ending rolled on and on and on. It was a real slog.

I skim-read a lot of it, including the last 50 pages. Too much politics. Too many characters. It was confusing. What happened to the adventure? What happened to the erotic angle?

Unfortunately, its slow pace made me notice things I didn’t in the first book. Phedre annoyed me. Everybody loves her. She’s perfect in every way. And the final confrontation with Melisandre! I just wanted to slap her! OY! Then there’s the writing style. It was so thick and wordy and cheesy. So many ‘mayhaps’. Quite frankly, I was tempted to throw the book across the room.

Then why the 3 stars? It’s not a bad book. The writing is decent enough (at least, when there’s a good plot), and the characters had great depth. I think, for me, my feelings are more of a taste issue, rather than anything wrong with the book.

They say the third book is better. I hope so. I think I’ll give it a go, but this time, I won’t be slogging through 300 pages to get to the meat of the story.

A disappointing follow-up to Kushiel’s Dart but not enough to turn me away from the finale. We’ll see what happens.

Book Review: Vendetta: Lucky’s Revenge (Lucky Santangelo #4

Drama

4 Stars

 

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Quite a good read! This was my first time reading Jackie Collins. Mass-producing authors can be hit-and-miss sometimes, but from what I’ve read here, she’s one of the good ones.

There are numerous perspectives, but I had all the characters straight in my head despite this book being 4th in the series. All characters had surprisingly decent depth considering the ‘shallowness’ of many of their personalities. The story was good. There were no real slow bits, which is hard to do at 600 pages. Lots of ‘naughtiness’, which I enjoyed. The romances were believable and fun. The writing itself was very easy to read and well thought out.

I’ll admit, this is not my kind of story. I don’t particularly enjoy reading about the rich and famous and their sordid lives. However, I like to think that despite my tastes I know a good story when I read one.

A talented author and a fun lady who clearly cared for and worked hard at her stories, and yet managed not to take herself or her work too seriously.

May she rest in peace.